Earthworm Identification with The Biological Recording Company

Friday 26th April, 2024 - 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

World Museum, William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EN

Learn how to tell British earthworm species apart based on morphological features using a microscope and ID guide with Keiron Brown.

There are 31 species of earthworm living freely in soils in the UK. They are vital to the economic health of our country, as they are crucial for soil health, food production, waste decomposition and even flood mitigation.

Despite their importance, relatively few people are skilled in identifying earthworms to species level. Identification of earthworms involves inspecting specimens under a microscope to observe key morphological features that are often too small to see with the naked eye.

However, with only 5 features used to distinguish between the 31 species, earthworms are a great group for novices. Learn the difference between a tanylobic and epilobic head type, how to record the position of the clitellum and how to determine if the setae on an earthworm are closely or widely paired.

What will be covered during this course?

This course provides an introduction to identifying British earthworms. This includes a short presentation introducing the morphological features used to identify specimens to species level and support from an Earthworm Society of Britain tutor throughout the practical sessions.

Please note that this course will involve using specimens that have been killed and preserved.

By the end of the course, learners will:

  • Understand which external (morphological) features used in earthworm identification.
  • Know how to work through the Key to the Earthworms of the UK & Ireland to determine earthworm specimens accurately to species level.
  • Have practical experience observing earthworm ID features using a microscope and specimen collection.
  • No microscope experience is necessary – our tutors will set up and show you how to use a microscope.

Course resource

The teaching text for this course is the Key to the Earthworms of the UK & Ireland (2nd edition) by Emma Sherlock, produced in 2019 by the Field Studies Council as part of their AIDGAP series (Aids to the Identification of Difficult Groups of Animals and Plants).

Each attendee will be given a free copy of the publication to keep at the beginning of the course.

For more information, please visit Eventbrite.

Date: Friday 26th April, 2024 - 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Cost: £15

Organiser: The Biological Recording Company

Booking: Book your ticket via Eventbrite.

Location: World Museum, William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EN